Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an emergency proclamation Friday, directing an infusion of resources to prepare for snow and extreme cold over the coming days.
The mayor also signed an emergency order that grants incentive payments of up to $150 per shift for certain front-line workers to operate emergency shelters and warming centers.
“Our city employees are starting 24/7 shifts to prepare for ice, snow, and freezing temperatures,” Durkan said in a statement.
She also encouraged anyone who can stay home and isolate to do so.
After a summer with record heat, officials are now warning that Seattle could experience the coldest temperatures in a decade. Snow is expected between Saturday evening and Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service. Next week, daytime highs are expected to be above freezing but overnight lows are currently forecast to drop to the 20s and possibly the single digits, according to Reed Wolcott, an NWS meteorologist.
The city is opening up additional warming centers, including at City Hall, and is supplementing staff at such centers and overnight shelters.
Employees of the city’s executive branch who have been required to work in person will receive a one-time payment of up to $150 per shift from Friday through at least Jan. 3, 2022, according to the emergency order. The city will also pay its employees and contractors who operate warming centers or provide services for vulnerable people up to $250 per shift for the same period of time.
People who need a warm place to escape the cold or snow can also go to:
- Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center, 301 Mercer St. This shelter will be operated by The Salvation Army and is open to adults 18 and older. Pets will be accepted as well, but they need to be nonaggressive and on a leash. The site will be able to hold around 100 people, according to the city.
- Compass Center in Pioneer Square, 210 Alaskan Way S. Open to adults 18 and older. Only service animals will be allowed at this site run by Compass Housing Alliance. The entrance is located at the corner of South Washington Street and Alaskan Way, across from the downtown ferry terminal. The shelter will be able to hold around 80 people.
In proclaiming a civil emergency, Durkan wrote that the circumstances of a severe winter storm “threaten public safety, create a risk of property damage, and may result in significant risk of injury to our residents” along with disrupting local government and schools.